Uber is making headlines lately in Milwaukee and in many of the other markets where we work. I took my first Uber last week, and I’m obsessed.
For those who are unfamiliar, Uber is a private car service that is giving the traditional taxicab system a run (drive?) for its money. Riders download the Uber app, and with a click of a button, they can see the available inventory of vehicles. The benefits over the traditional model are attracting customers in droves, and Uber's even causing shifts in insurance coverage.
Uber's perks include:
• Self-service requests for rides — no added time or fees for dispatch
• Quick and easy payment, including the ability to split cab fare automatically with other passengers via the app
• Uber does the metering and emails you a map of the route you took following the trip — so no second guessing the cabbies added surcharges or whether they really took you the best way
• Drivers and passengers both rate their experience with the ride, which is shown in the app so that others can choose a ride that is highly rated
• Anyone can apply to be an Uber driver and use their personal vehicle — reducing the barriers to entry associated with purchasing or leasing a cab
But wherever Uber goes, it’s met with resistance. When it debuted in Paris, cab drivers protesting slashed the tires of Uber vehicles and harassed the drivers. Wherever it’s gone in the U.S., it’s brought a fight — Denver, Seattle, and many other municipalities have pending legislation and legal challenges to ban or severely limit the car service.
Uber is more than just a car service — it’s a metaphor for change. Change is constant. Change is inevitable. At some point, all our industries have had or will have an Uber to face.
The thing that will separate the winners and losers in the face of change is how they respond. Those who adapt have a fighting chance. Those who resist may succeed at slowing down their competition, but this certainly isn’t a long-term strategy for prosperity.
So where's the best place to be? The market innovator forcing the industry to change to keep up. Where can you drive change in your chosen field?